A homeowners association (HOA) is not an easy thing to run. That's why it's essential that the board of directors be people of unquestionable character who have the capacity and capability to make tough decisions when needed in the best interests of the community.

For example, they need to act whenever members are delinquent on their homeowner association fees. At the same time, they are responsible for mapping out the annual initiatives of the unit as well as the budgetary needs.

Don't forget that they need to keep rules and regulations current and be the ones to decide when a management company may be needed.

Today, we focus on one of the key roles that go into this, which is none other than that of the secretary. What does such a person do and what do they need to bring to the table? Let's take a look!

A Quick Note on Board Members

As you know, there will always be a board that handles the running of things. This structure is broken down into different key roles such as the HOA board president. Such a person is the one who will be leading board meetings and will fit into the spokesperson role.

The need to staff roles adequately requires understanding the requirements of the job and ensuring that these are met by whomever the board may nominate.

Therefore, the information below is meant for those who intend to staff the role, those already in the position, or those who may be considering running.

What Is the Role of an HOA Secretary in All of This?

Keeping Records and Documents

An HOA has to make sure that any official documents that may be relevant to the community are processed and maintained adequately. This is one of the most important HOA board member responsibilities considering that the loss, damage, theft, or other compromise of such documents could hamper the effective running of the organization.

While many HOAs will take care of this based on initiative, there are other cases in which there is a mandatory requirement to ensure that this is handled. California and North Carolina are good examples of locations where there is no choice.

Not only do these state laws mandate keeping the records in order, but there is also a mandate to ensure that they are reasonably available to any association member inspection.

As the secretary is responsible for ensuring that all this takes place, the association places a great level of faith in such a person.

Agenda Preparation and Minute-taking

This one tends to go hand in hand with the leadership side of things as the secretary may find that there is a lot of direct work with the president to get the meeting agenda ready. Remember that this is something members need to receive before the meeting even gets started. After all, they will need it to prepare since it gives direction on what is to be discussed.

When the meetings actually happen, there's more to get done too since the secretary will also bear the responsibility of taking minutes during the proceeding. These are also crucial considering that they will form a reference point for different members.

A good secretary has to ensure that this is done objectively and clearly.

Resident Communication

A part of HOA management is ensuring that residents are always abreast of happenings within the community. For example, HOA dues may see a rise in the future, which is something people would need to know.

A less serious need for communication may be the fact that common areas are going to be blocked off for maintenance. People don't like being in the dark about these things and they shouldn't be considering that these are matters that directly affect them.

The onus is usually on the secretary to decide what communication methodology will be used.

Documentation Validation

Official documents will often need a witness for validation purposes, and it's not uncommon for the secretary to be the one who fulfills this duty. Different pieces of documentation such as contracts for management or vendor services will often feature a secretary's signature.

Managing Membership Lists

An HOA needs to keep track of who its members are and the secretary is the one who will maintain the list used to do this. Of course, this comes with updating it as the association goes through its various changes.

Where a property management company may be involved, this responsibility will often be offloaded to the said company. However, once the HOA is self-managed, then the secretary is the one who will handle this kind of thing.

This does mean that there is a certain level of access to privileged and private information that falls within the scope of responsibility. As a data controller, there's the essential requirement of ensuring that these details are protected.

Sending Notices of Board Meetings

While annual meetings take place less frequently, there will be other board meetings that happen somewhat regularly. The HOA secretary is responsible for ensuring that any notice of meetings is sent out on time. What timely means will differ from one association to the next, as this will be guided by state laws and governing documents.

Notices tend to include the time, date, and location of the meeting. The agenda should be prepared by the time the notice goes out and will typically be attached.

Document Filing

Though community associations such as HOAs are not for profit, they still fall under the umbrella of organizations, which means that they will need to ensure that official documents are filed with the Secretary of State.

Corporate annual reports will typically be a part of this. The HOA board secretary must ensure these filings are done.

What Attributes Should a Board Secretary Bring to the Table?


The community's governing documents such as CC&Rs provide a level of direction on how certain matters are handled. HOA secretary duties must consistently be carried out in accordance with the applicable documentation.

For example, just now we made mention of meeting notices that need to be sent out in time. If the bylaws of CC&Rs indicate that there must be a 15-day minimum notice, the secretary is expected to abide by this 100% of the time.


When you have an organization that is meant to be record keeping, dealing with audits, ensuring that HOA board member certification for HOA, condo, co-op, etc. are taken care of, it stands to reason that things can get out of control.

Excellent Communication

Remember that one of the key responsibilities of an HOA secretary is to communicate with association members to ensure that they are always in the loop. Naturally, it takes an excellent communicator to pull this one off.

Bear in mind that there are also board-level and external stakeholders that come into play.

Delegation Ability

A secretary of an HOA has a laundry list of things that they will be accountable for. Being accountable or responsible doesn't necessarily mean having to carry out the tasks. The person in this position is one of the leads of the HOA community, after all.

To that end, it's essential to know when to delegate tasks to others versus knowing when they need to be handled personally.


Remember the statement about the secretary having good character? Well, the expectation is that this should come with an inherent sense of responsibility considering the importance of the duties to be performed.

These are not the kinds of things that can be done with no passion or no solid effort. Diligence, integrity, and accountability are mandatory here.

Passion for Service

There are no two ways about it. This is a service role at the end of the day, and it's simply not for some people, which is not necessarily an indictment on those persons.

However, anyone who wishes to do well in this capacity needs to have a genuine desire to serve the community and its best interests.

Best Practices a Homeowners Association Secretary Should Consider

Now that you know what makes a good secretary, it's time to switch gears to some best practices that will go a long way in ensuring the job is done well.

Using a Document Management System

We are now in the digital era. While there was a time when paper was the only way to go, storing documents online presents an option that allows for easy access and safety.

There isn't even a need to purchase a commercial document management system considering so many solutions are out there that can be made to work efficiently in this capacity.

Implementing Tracking Processes

A secretary will have a ton of contracts and forms to keep track of. If there isn't a proper system in place to begin with, it becomes pretty easy for things to snowball out of control, meaning that document loss or deadline missing start to become very real problems.

Attributes such as locations, statuses, file names, and deadlines can be used in simple solutions such as spreadsheets to mitigate against a lot of potential problems.

Prioritize Compliance

Remember that there is the caveat of dealing with private data that goes into the role of being a secretary. The need to protect same goes well beyond having integrity. There are legal guidelines in many cases that will determine what the obligations are as a secretary.

If a secretary wishes to be acquainted with what these are, it's recommended to review state laws as well as the governing documents of the HOA to understand.

Even so, there may be cases where it's not very easy to understand the lines of responsibility and how certain tasks involving confidential information are to be handled. In these cases, it's a great idea to seek legal counsel.

Use Meeting Templates and Check Governing Documents

We don't need to go over the importance of checking in with governing documents again. However, we do want to emphasize the use of meeting templates. After all, a meeting is a meeting at the end of the day, though the items to be discussed may change.

Simplify your preparation and execution process by using a defined template for your agenda and meeting minutes. Why reinvent the wheel when you can simply use it to travel?

Other Important Roles to Know

HOA President

The HOA president is the leader of the board of directors, presiding over board meetings, setting agendas, being the liaison between the community and other leaders, etc.

HOA Vice President

An HOA board vice president is the president's second in command, providing the required support and assuming the duties of the president where there is a resignation or other absence.

HOA Treasurer

This is where the association's finances and budgets are managed. For example, meeting the financial requirements for community homeowners association insurance will come from here. Reports on the community's finances are also expected to be compiled and presented at intervals.

Committee Chair

Some boards may have committees that have designated responsibilities such as maintenance or community events. Chairs have control of these subgroups.


This is a board member with no particular function who will provide the required support whenever it is needed.

HOA Software Can Be Helpful to the Association Secretary

An HOA management company is one option that the association board can consider to make the life and work of the secretary and the team at large easier. What about simply using HOA software to ease the burden?

DoorLoop has a comprehensively designed software solution to handle all the fundamental elements of the HOA management equation. Here's a look at what you'd be getting:

  1. A free HOA website per community or property that is complete with a free resident portal login.
  2. Automatic payments of rent, maintenance, amenities, fines, and other HOA fees.
  3. Full accounting management inclusive of AR/AP reports that are shareable.
  4. QuickBooks and bank account sync.
  5. Unlimited management users.
  6. Maintenance and architectural form (ARC) requests.
  7. Communication via channels such as text, call, email, or portal messages.

The Bottom Line?

No one can deny just how critical the role of a secretary is to an HOA since without one there would be record keeping, meeting running, and communication issues. Refer to the information above for a comprehensive guideline of what the role entails and requires.

Additionally, don't forget to consider our incredible HOA software solution. Request a free demo today to see how it works!

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!